A strong leader leads by example and will do the right thing – even when no one is looking.
“Those are two leadership characteristics that I try to exemplify,” said Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Schock, a Coast Guard marine investigator.
With nearly 27 years of Coast Guard service under his belt, Schock has worked hard to perfect his leadership skills as well as become a master of his craft.
Schock, a Pottstown, Pennsylvania, native, recently received the Coast Guard Award for Excellence in Marine Inspections for his dedication.
The award recognizes inspectors who demonstrate strong trainer and mentoring skills, have had especially noteworthy impacts on increasing marine safety and display high levels of expertise and professionalism.
“As our only advanced journeyman marine inspector he instructed tomorrow’s generation of prevention leaders and gave them the tools to continue promoting the enhancement of the marine safety program,” said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Meskun, chief of inspections division at Coast Guard Sector San Juan.
Schock devoted his time to improve the competence of apprentice inspectors and port state control examiners.
“In the inspections field the ability to train others may be the most important leadership trait,” Schock said. “This requires a lot of knowledge and the right personality but when done well it can really be a force multiplier.”
Schock, a member of the prevention training board at Sector San Juan, was in charge of overseeing the qualifications and training of more than 70 people.
In addition to mentoring and training others, he played an active role in increasing marine safety.
“Chief Warrant Officer Schock is truly the inspector that every chief of inspections wishes they had on staff,” said Meskun, Schock’s former supervisor. “His level of competence, dedication to duty, and passion for the craft is unmatched.”
When local ferries in Puerto Rico were repeatedly having machinery casualties, Schock, then stationed at Sector San Juan, made it his mission to find the root of the problems to correct the issues, which were routinely linked to design flaws traced back to original construction or repairs at shipyards. Most managers had very little, if any, maritime background, said Schock. Schock and his team championed a new approach with the operators, helping them understand vessel requirements and safety management protocols that resulted in a 50 percent reduction in deficiencies.
“I’m humbled by all of the work and accomplishments that Andy did to better the maritime industry in this unique, overseas operating environment, and am blessed to have had the good fortune to work with him,” Meskun said.
Schock ensures he’s on his game by learning all he can both on and off the job. He has been working on obtaining his Bachelors of Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University, as well as working towards a certificate degree in Machine Tool Technology from Delaware County Community College.
“My advice for other marine inspectors is to take responsibility for your own education,” Schock said. “Whether you read a book, a manual, attend a C-school or commercial course, or take a college course, there is always something to learn. Marine safety is an incredibly broad subject and you can never know too much.”
Schock recently transferred to Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay where he and his team investigate marine casualties.